New Street

  • 1 Feb 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
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Originally, Friar Street and New Street was one street known as Glover Street; there was no break where Charles Street goes to the Blockhouse. Pump Street was a very narrow lane, the bottom of which was known as Vine Street.

The east side of the street contains a number of old merchant's houses from the early 18th century of such houses being vacated by the original owners, and being divided off into tenements and small workshops. Almost all the gardens, which went down to the City Wall, had industrial buildings and workers cottages built on to them. Baylis Lewis the Printers, at the back of the house south of Nash's house is a good example. Most were owned by clothiers, and weaving went on in the rooms at the top of the house; later when the cloth trade died out, they were used for gloving. Sign of the 18th century industry could be seen in the long weaver's windows of the Nash house, and high up at the side of the old pawn shop, seen from Nash's Passage. 

At the top of Nash's Passage, was until the 1960's, the last of the City pawnshops. In the days before 1914, crowds thronged the pavement to get into the shop on Saturday evenings, when the week's wages were received, and many a wife, when the money was at hand, dashed down to the pawnshop to get her 'old man's suit out', so that it would be available on Sunday, and he would never know that she had 'popped it'.                         It was a vicious circle of poverty and deceit, for on Monday, she would be short of money, and it would be in again. It was a period of dreadful poverty for the mass of the poor, with never anything left over. Even if there was employment, it only needed illness of the breadwinner, or death to put a family in desperate need.

In New Street  lived Mrs. Bateman, who c 1860, kept a wax-works shop and second-hand furniture, china and print shop, the like of which could rarely be seen in provincial towns. Her collection of old and rare Worcester china, local and sporting prints (such as the 'Spring v Langan Prizefight'), and furniture of the finest quality mostly came from local sources, and a few visitors came to Worcester and omitted to inspect them - but Mrs. Bateman so liked the things she collected that it was difficult to her to part with them.